The latest episode of NBC’s “This Is Us” has left a lot of fans panicking about the safety of something many of us have in our kitchen — a slow cooker. We’ll avoid major spoilers and won’t go into too many details, but let this be a minor spoiler alert if you haven’t seen the episode yet!
Here’s the gist: In a flashback, we see Jack and Rebecca Pearson receive an old slow cooker from a neighbor, who mentions it has a faulty switch. Fast-forward 17 years and we see Jack turn off the slow cooker after a night of watching the Super Bowl, only for the switch to turn back on and spark. It catches fire to a kitchen towel and the fire spreads through the house as the episode ends.
This dramatic incident has fans asking a serious question: Can a slow cooker, or Crock-Pot as many people call them, really catch on fire?
Although the slow cooker in “This Is Us” was not branded a Crock-Pot, social media lit up following the episode, with fans of the show saying they were throwing theirs out:
— Torri (@TorriiiGirrl) January 24, 2018
That lead the makers of the Crock-Pot to do a bit of damage control to assure everyone that their products are safe.
“For nearly 50 years with over 100 million Crock-Pots sold, we have never received any consumer complaints similar to the fictional events portrayed in last night’s episode. In fact, the safety and design of our product renders this type of event nearly impossible,” the company said in a statement to NBC News. “…Our Crock-Pot slow cookers are low current, low wattage (typically no more than 200 or 300 watts) appliances with self-regulating, heating elements. The product is designed to cook foods over a longer period of time at low temperatures and the switches connect to only 1 side of the power line voltage, so there is never a high voltage applied directly across our switches.”
Crock-Pot also took to social media to respond to posts there, urging fans to continue using their products.
“Jack Pearson was our Valentine so we equally understand your pain with his loss. We love him and we love you too,” they wrote in response to one fan on Facebook. “Don’t further add to our heartbreak by no longer using Crock-Pot Slow Cookers, rest assured our products have been generationally tested by your family and friends.”
“This Is Us” creator Dan Fogelman has also responded, asking fans not to jump to conclusions about their own Crock-Pots:
Taking a moment to remind everyone that it was a 20 year old fictional crockpot with an already funky switch? Let's not just lump all those lovely hardworking crockpots together. #ThisIsUs
— Dan Fogelman (@Dan_Fogelman) January 24, 2018
The Crock-Pot used in the show was indeed old, as it was used for many years before the fire. Not only was the fire 17 years after the Pearsons were given the Crock-Pot, but it also took place in the 1990s — meaning the Crock-Pots of today are not the same as the one that started the fire.
Regardless, if you have an older appliance, it’s probably best to replace it for something new.
“If you were handed down a vintage pot from the ’70s that has the insert firmly attached to the heating element instead of a removable insert, then it’s time to upgrade,” Stephanie O’Dea, a slow-cooking expert, told NBC in 2015.
It’s also imperative to make sure you have working smoke detectors. It was also shown in a previous episode of “This Is Us” that the family had run out of batteries, which likely contributed to them being unaware of the fire as it spread through the house.
Crock-Pot now hopes to work with “This Is Us” to help spread information regarding the safety of their product. As they said in their statement:
“While we know their primary mission is to entertain — something they have continued to excel in — we also feel they have a responsibility to inform. Just like many fans, we will be watching next week’s episode to see how Jack’s story progresses and, regardless of the outcome, we want consumers first and foremost to know they are safe when using their Crock-Pot.”
Did this week’s “This Is Us” episode change how you feel about your slow cooker?